The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cape Cobra

Afrikaans name: Kaapse Geelslang

Cape Cobra

Cape Cobra

Photo © Sean - Fotolia.com

Naja nivea

The Cape Cobra is referred to as a 'geelslang' (yellow snake) in Afrikaans and it is not hard to see why. Although their colour varies you do get forms that are bright yellow in colour.

These snakes are normally less than 1.5 metres in length but some individuals reach a length of 2 metres or more.

Cape Cobras are mainly active during the day. They normally hunt small rodents, frogs, lizards and smaller snakes on the ground but they do raid weaver nests high up in trees.

They lay up to 20 eggs at a time. The newy hatched Cape Cobras are around 35 cm in length.

Cape Cobras have a highly toxic venom and will bite with little provocation. They are responsible for human deaths, in South Africa, that the notorious Black Mamba.

References and further reading

Snakes & Snakebite in Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Johan Marais - Published: 2014 - Page: 47

Snakes of Africa - Author: R.M. Isemonger - Published: 1983 - Page: 212

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 218

Wild Issue 21 - Author: - Published: 2012 - Page: 76

Wild Issue 42 - Author: - Published: 2018 - Page: 63

Wild Issue 47 - Author: - Published: 2019 - Page: 16

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 252

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 75

Bill Branchs Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Bill Branch - Published: 1988 - Page: 93

Sasol First Field Guide to Snakes & other Reptiles of Southern Africa - 2nd edit - Author: Tracey Hawthorne - Published: 2016 - Page: 37

Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Rod Patterson and Anothony Bannister - Published: 1987 - Page: 89

Reptiles & Amphibians of Southern Africa - Author: Warren Schmidt - Published: 2006 - Page: 37

Questions and Answers - Snakes and Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: John Comrie-Greig - Published: 1992 - Page: 28

go! - Issue 146 - Author: - Published: 2018 - Page: 20

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 406

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Published: 1999 - Page: 76

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 259

A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Graham Alexander and Johan Marais - Published: 2007 - Page: 154

A Field Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa - Author: V.F.M. Fitzsimmons - Published: 1970 - Page: 157


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